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A Fierce and Subtle Poison
Cover of A Fierce and Subtle Poison
A Fierce and Subtle Poison
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Legends collide with reality when a boy is swept into the magical, dangerous world of a girl filled with poison. Everyone knows the legends about the cursed girl—Isabel, the one the...
Legends collide with reality when a boy is swept into the magical, dangerous world of a girl filled with poison. Everyone knows the legends about the cursed girl—Isabel, the one the...
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Description-

  • Legends collide with reality when a boy is swept into the magical, dangerous world of a girl filled with poison.
    Everyone knows the legends about the cursed girl—Isabel, the one the señoras whisper about. They say she has green skin and grass for hair, and she feeds on the poisonous plants that fill her family’s lush Caribbean island garden. Some say she can grant wishes; some say her touch can kill. Seventeen-year-old Lucas spends summers with his hotel-developer father in Puerto Rico, and he’s grown up hearing the stories. When letters from the cursed girl mysteriously appear in his room the same day his girlfriend disappears, Lucas turns to Isabel for answers—and finds himself lured into her strange and enchanted world. But the more entangled Lucas becomes with Isabel, the less certain he is of escaping with his own life.
    “A breathtaking story in which myths come to frightening life and buried wishes might actually come true.” —Nova Ren Suma, author of The Walls Around Us and Imaginary Girls
     
     
    “Samantha Mabry’s magical debut is both a chilling mystery and a heartbreaking meditation on love, longing, and sacrifice . . . A Fierce and Subtle Poison will get into your blood.” —Laura Ruby,  author of Bone Gap
     
     
    “With its sparklingly sinister blend of natural history and magic, of themes that seem both modern and timeless, A Fierce and Subtle Poison gets under the skin.”—Chicago Tribune
     

About the Author-

  • Samantha Mabry credits her tendency toward magical thinking to her Grandmother Garcia, who would wash money in the kitchen sink to rinse off any bad spirits. She teaches writing and Latino literature at a community college in Dallas, where she lives with her husband, a historian, and a cat named Mouse. She is the author of A Fierce and Subtle Poison and All the Wind in the World. Visit her online at samanthamabry.com or on Twitter: @samanthamabry.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    January 18, 2016
    Inspired by Hawthorne’s “Rappaccini’s Daughter,” debut author Mabry blends magical realism with mystery in the story of Lucas Knight, the 17-year-old son of a hotel developer spending his summers in San Juan. Instead of thinking about college, Lucas spends his time with friends Ruben, Rico, and Carlos, enjoying the nightlife despite tales of curses and ghosts, and the disappearances of several young girls in town. When a scribbled wish that Ruben’s cousin Marisol leaves at a cursed house is returned to Lucas, he investigates, meeting and falling for an occupant of the house, Isabel Ford, whose touch is poisonous. Lucas becomes a suspect after Marisol’s body washes up on the shore and her younger sister goes missing. With the police on Lucas’s heels and Isabel’s poison slowly killing her, the two race to put a stop to the disappearances and end the curse. Mabry smoothly joins dreamy, fever-induced scenes with the lore of “la ciguapa,” a beautiful creature that leads men to insanity or death with a kiss, and her atmospheric ending guarantees goose bumps. Ages 12–up. Agent: Claire Anderson-Wheeler, Regal Hoffman & Associates.

  • DOGO Books nand - wow!
  • School Library Journal

    March 1, 2016

    Gr 7 Up-This first-person murder mystery is set in Puerto Rico, where Lucas, a biracial 17-year-old with blond hair and blue eyes, finds himself the prime suspect in the murders of two young women. It doesn't help that his hotel-developing American father is wealthy or that he enjoys frequenting parties. Even some of his local friends doubt his credibility given that he discovered the body of one of the victims, the beautiful Marisol-and his latest fling. Despite his shock, Lucas continues to be magnetically drawn to the ominous home of the American scientist Dr. Ford with its supposed wish-granting ghost. When he finds the man's spirited daughter Isabel instead, Lucas begins to understand the cause of recent bizarre events, and the two work together in a race against time to prevent further killings. Yet proximity to the girl results in physical illness, as well as a fatalistic attraction despite plagues of mosquitoes and even a hurricane. The magical realism in this book draws heavily on themes related to science and scientific research evidenced in Nathaniel Hawthorne's short story "Rappaccini's Daughter," intertwined with references to legends of Dominican ciguapas-beautiful mythic female beings that lure men to their death. The "exotic" foreign setting includes suspicious, gossiping locals; lush landscapes; and extreme weather, together with eerie romance and unexpected perils requiring superherolike resolve and physical stamina. This book will appeal to teens, particularly fans of romance and murder mysteries; however, Lucas's outsider perspective toward the island, particularly at the beginning of the text, tends to mask critical themes of race, power, and identity, as well as the impact of U.S. control in Puerto Rico. VERDICT A complex text best used in book clubs or classrooms where teens can discuss the dominant monocultural readings of the book, as well as the tourist perspectives of Puerto Rico.-Ruth Quiroa, National Louis University, IL

    Copyright 2016 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Kirkus

    February 1, 2016
    Lucas is a rich, blond gringo in Puerto Rico, but he actually believes the old island tales about the secretive shut-in who lives down the street from his family's luxury hotel. Since he was a little boy, 17-year-old Lucas Knight has spent his summers at his real estate tycoon father's premier resort--a renovated convent--in Old San Juan. Despite his wealth, Luke can't escape his own brand of bad luck. His mother (an "island girl" herself) left the family when he was 7; his hotel room is reportedly where a heartsick novice once killed herself; and two days after hooking up with Marisol--his local best friend's beautiful cousin--he finds her dead body washed up on the beach, making the authorities think he's an ideal suspect. Things take a turn from mystery to magical realism when the girl from the "cursed" house on Calle Sol--Isabel, who's rumored to be so full of poison she's green--turns out to be real, and she's simultaneously dying and deadly. If Luke wants to know what happened to Marisol, he must trust this strange and sheltered girl. The author steeps her debut novel in compelling Caribbean folklore and a lush, evocative setting. The pacing, however, is occasionally uneven, and the plot often creates more questions than it answers. Fans of open-ended, atmospheric stories will enjoy the chilling suspense. (Fiction. 13-17)

    COPYRIGHT(2016) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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    Algonquin Books
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